Just yesterday, I was having a video call with a CEO. He looked tired, with bags under his eyes. I asked what it’s like for him. He was talking about some of the challenges of leading in this new environment.
We talked about how you make decisions when you don’t have the answers? Yet, as the CEO, every hour or call is a new decision of consequence. He’s needing to pivot quickly from discussions on scenario planning to supply chain issues to new government lock-down guidelines to taking care of employees. “The worst thing to do is freeze,” he said. “It helps to know that my board is behind me and believes in me,” he added. It reminded me that in times of crisis, we especially need others to believe in us.
We discussed the new environment where we have to give up our mindset of searching for the “right answer” before we make a decision.
The Cynefin Framework (below from Wikipedia) by David Snowden is a great model to make sense of the world we are in. The first time I saw it, it gave me a headache. But then I realized that this was my brain stretching and seeing something differently. Let’s call it brain yoga!
The framework shows how different situations must be navigated differently and require different mindsets in leaders. On the right side of the model are situations where there is high predictability. For example, when a piece of machinery has broken down, you use the manual to fix it.
The left side is the landscape we’re in today. Low predictability. This is the land of no good answers; the path is created with every step. To thrive, we learn to be curious and creative. We ask different types of questions. We do experiments, and we learn. We take action, and we learn. We let go of old assumptions and unlearn.
If you’re feeling stretched and confused, don’t worry. I will be sharing more about the new mindsets that are needed to operate in this landscape. Remember, brain yoga is good for you!
Grateful we’re in this together!
P.S. Please share these blog series with others on your teams so together we can grow new capacities to thrive in disruption. You can sign up for the series here. And don’t forget to comment below with your questions and challenges so we can co-create for our community.